Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 827-843; doi:10.3390/nano4030827 - published 17 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Hydrophobins are small proteins secreted by fungi and which spontaneously assemble into amphipathic layers at hydrophilic-hydrophobic interfaces. We have examined the self-assembly of the Class I hydrophobins EAS∆15 and DewA, the Class II hydrophobin NC2 and an engineered chimeric hydrophobin. These Class I hydrophobins form layers composed of laterally associated fibrils with an underlying amyloid structure. These two Class I hydrophobins, despite showing significant conformational differences in solution, self-assemble to form fibrillar layers with very similar structures and require a hydrophilic-hydrophobic interface to trigger self-assembly. Addition of additives that influence surface tension can be used to manipulate the fine structure of the protein films. The Class II hydrophobin NC2 forms a mesh-like protein network and the engineered chimeric hydrophobin displays two multimeric forms, depending on assembly conditions. When formed on a graphite surface, the fibrillar EAS∆15 layers are resistant to alcohol, acid and basic washes. In contrast, the NC2 Class II monolayers are dissociated by alcohol treatment but are relatively stable towards acid and base washes. The engineered chimeric Class I/II hydrophobin shows increased stability towards alcohol and acid and base washes. Self-assembled hydrophobin films may have extensive applications in biotechnology where biocompatible; amphipathic coatings facilitate the functionalization of nanomaterials.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 813-826; doi:10.3390/nano4030813 - published 11 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Tuberculosis is a major problem in public health. While new effective treatments to combat the disease are currently under development, they tend suffer from poor solubility often resulting in low and/or inconsistent oral bioavailability. Mesoporous materials are here investigated in an in vitro intracellular assay, for the effective delivery of compound PA-824; a poorly soluble bactericidal agent being developed against Tuberculosis (TB). Mesoporous materials enhance the solubility of PA-824; however, this is not translated into a higher antibacterial activity in TB-infected macrophages after 5 days of incubation, where similar values are obtained. The lack of improved activity may be due to insufficient release of the drug from the mesopores in the context of the cellular environment. However, these results show promising data for the use of mesoporous particles in the context of oral delivery with expected improvements in bioavailability.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 792-812; doi:10.3390/nano4030792 - published 4 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: During evolution, living organisms have learned to design biomolecules exhibiting self-assembly properties to build-up materials with complex organizations. This is particularly evidenced by the delicate siliceous structures of diatoms and sponges. These structures have been considered as inspiration sources for the preparation of nanoscale and nanostructured silica-based materials templated by the self-assembled natural or biomimetic molecules. These templates range from short peptides to large viruses, leading to biohybrid objects with a wide variety of dimensions, shapes and organization. A more recent strategy based on the integration of biological self-assembly as the driving force of silica nanoparticles organization offers new perspectives to elaborate highly-tunable, biofunctional nanocomposites.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 778-791; doi:10.3390/nano4030778 - published 2 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A viral β-annulus peptide connected with a zinc oxide (ZnO)-binding sequence (HCVAHR) at its N-terminal was synthesized, and the inclusion behavior of quantum-sized ZnO nanoparticles into the peptide nanocapsules formed by self-assembly of the peptide in water was investigated. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements showed that ZnO nanoparticles (approximately 10 nm) in the presence of the peptide (0.1 mM) formed assemblies with an average size of 48 ± 24 nm, whereas ZnO nanoparticles in the absence of the peptide formed large aggregates. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observations of the ZnO nanoparticles in the presence of the peptide revealed that ZnO nanoparticles were encapsulated into the peptide nanocapsules with a size of approximately 50 nm. Fluorescence spectra of a mixture of the peptide and ZnO nanoparticles suggested that the ZnO surface and the peptide interact. Template synthesis of ZnO nanoparticles with the peptide nanocapsules afforded larger nanoparticles (approximately 40 nm), which are not quantum-sized ZnO.
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 768-777; doi:10.3390/nano4030768 - published 2 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In this work, we report the formation of a family of organic micro-/nano-pillars prepared from surface-assisted self-assembly processes and factors controlling the growth of the pillars. These acids include cyanuric acid (CA), 1,3,5-benzenetricarboxylic acid (TMA), 1,2,4,5-benzenetetracarboxylic acid (TA) and 3,4,9,10-perylenetetracarboxylic acid (PTA). Aqueous solutions mixed with acids and melamine (M) can be fine-tuned to prepare ordered micro-/nano-pillars on substrates, which can be further optimized for their applications
Nanomaterials2014, 4(3), 766-767; doi:10.3390/nano4030766 - published 22 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This Special Issue of Nanomaterials examines the potential for engineered nanomaterials to negatively impact biological systems and highlights some advances in evaluating key areas of their hazard potential. Nanomaterial science is evolving rapidly with the generation of more complex nanostructures with exciting potential applications. Keeping modern toxicology abreast of this innovation to the point that it guides a safer nanotechnology presents an equally exciting and eminently worthwhile challenge. [...]